I always wanted to be a physician, and I knew from a very young age that I would become one someday. Growing up, I absolutely loved nature and I was fascinated with the human body. I was one of those kids that would spend the entire day outside exploring anything and everything I could find…plants, animals, bugs, fish, etc. I grew up in South Dakota, so there was plenty to explore and keep me busy!
After I graduated from high school, I moved to Arizona to establish residency and attend Arizona State University. While I was going to school, I worked as an instrument tech in General Surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I gained a lot of experience and had the opportunity to be exposed to allopathic medicine. However, while I was working there, I started to question whether or not I wanted to be a part of medicine.
Since it had been my lifelong goal, I didn’t know what else I would do if I did not go to medical school and become a physician. So, I did what many other lost & confused college graduates do…I joined the Peace Corps. I was in Cameroon, West Africa teaching math and science, and I started realizing that they do things completely differently there. They didn’t have access to western medicines so they relied on what they had…plants, animals, and food. One day I saw 3 kids in my front yard “picking my weeds”. I went out to let them know that they did not have to pick my weeds and they informed me that they were picking the plants because their baby sister was sick with “belly palaba” and needed to make a tea out of the plants.
This intrigued and fascinated me so much that I wrote to a friend about it. In that same letter, I also shared that I was still confused about what I wanted to do if I did not go to medical school. My friend wrote back and told me that I should think about naturopathic medicine. I had no clue what naturopathic medicine was, so I asked her to send me some information about it. The moment I read the info, I knew that was what I was meant to do. I remember thinking, “I can be a physician AND honor nature? How perfect is that!”
Upon returning home from the Peace Corps, I worked with the homeless in downtown Phoenix for 2 years before attending naturopathic medical school at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. I graduated in 2002 and have been practicing ever since.
It is through these vast experiences that I have gained my empathy and compassion for people and have truly learned to value individuality and to celebrate diversity of all people. I am incredibly passionate about naturopathic medicine and about educating and inspiring people to be proactive in their health. I hope my passion is contagious…